July 13, 2019

A pentagon has 5 sides, a hexagon has 6 sides, but how many sides does an Oregon have? Well, there are many sides to this state! About half the state is covered by forest, but there are also deserts, volcanoes, and the deepest lake in America. So it makes sense that Oregon’s flag is the only one with different designs on the 2 sides. The front side of the flag has the state seal and 33 stars, since Oregon is the 33rd state. The back side has a beaver, the official state animal. Unlike real life, the beaver on the flag is bright gold. Another unusual thing going on in Oregon are some of the town names, which include Fossil, Persist, Spray, Sodaville, Promise, Glide, Wonder, and Rainbow. There’s even a town called Boring – but don’t let that fool you!

*Wee ones: *If a triangle has 3 sides and a square has 4, which shape has more sides? Draw a triangle and then a square in the air with your finger – or if you have paper and pencil, draw them on paper!

*Little kids: *Along with the beaver, the Oregon state flag also has an eagle, an elk, and 2 oxen on it. How many animals is that in total? *Bonus: *If Oregon is the 33rd state, how many states had already joined the U.S. before that?

*Big kids: *Beavers love to chomp on wood. If you put out snacks on toothpicks, and the beaver eats 2 toothpicks, then 5 in the next chomp, then 9 in the next…how many does it chomp on the next bite to keep up the pattern? *Bonus: *If a beaver’s body is 36 inches long, and its tail adds on another 12 inches, what fraction of the beaver’s whole length is tail?

*The sky’s the limit: *The Oregon state flag also has the year it became a state – 1859 – on it. If you rearrange the digits in 1859 to make the biggest possible number, how much greater would it be than 1859?

Answers:

*Wee ones: *A square, because 4 is more than 3. Try drawing each shape!

*Little kids: *5 animals. *Bonus: *32 states.

*Big kids: *14 toothpicks. The pattern starts with 2, then adds 3 for the next number, then adds 4, so now we add 5, bringing us from 9 to 14. *Bonus: *The tail is 1/4 of the total length, which is 36 + 12 = 48 inches. Then 12 / 48 = 1/4.

*The sky’s the limit: *7,992. The largest number you can make with the digits 1 8 5 9 is 9,851. 9,851 – 1,859 = 7,992.

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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